History of Hawaii Atlantis Submarine Tours
Information about the history of Atlantis
submarine tours from the time Atlantis launched
their first recreational passenger submarine
tour in 1986 through launching their Hawaii
submarine tours on Oahu, Maui, and the Big
Island of Hawaii.
Atlantis first began offering submarine tours
in 1986 on Grand Cayman Island in the Caribbean
on the Atlantis I passenger submarine.
Atlantis launched their larger, 48 passenger Atlantis II
submarine in Barbados in 1987.
In 1988 Atlantis began offering Atlantis 48-passenger
submarines tours on the Atlantis IV off the Kona
coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.
In 1989 Atlantis began offering submarine tours
on Oahu on the brand new submarine Atlantis VI.
That year they also worked with the University
of Hawaii's Sea Grant Program and the
Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural
Resources to build or sink several structures
to form the beginnings of an artificial reef.
The artificial reef structures off Waikiki included
concrete pyramid and ring shaped structures,
a decommissioned ship, and two airplanes.
In 1991 Atlantis began offering a submarine
tour off the coast of Maui and they added
a second 48-passenger submarine to their
In 1994 Atlantis had a 64-passenger built for
their Waikiki operation, named the Atlantis XIV
At the time there were two submarines operating in Waikiki but
the tours were so popular it became necessary
to add a third. One of the reasons the Oahu
tours were so popular is that Atlantis had
built a series of artificial reef structures
offshore of Waikiki that were designed to
attract coral growth and protect marine life in
an underwater area that had been destroyed in
the past by a hurricane.
In May of 1999 The submarines Atlantis VII and Atlantis XIV
collided with each other while operating off the coast of
Waikiki. As Atlantis XIV waited on the surface to correct
a communication problem, Atlantis VII entered the same
dive zone and attempted to resurface. The hand rails
on the deck of the Atlantis VII struck the skids on the
Atlantis XIV. No persons were injured. The hand rails
on the Atlantis VII were damaged. There was no damage to
In 2002 Atlantis Adventures purchased
the 400 passenger Navatek I and began offering
evening dinner cruises off the Waikiki coast.
By the summer of 2000 Atlantis Adventures was
in its 12th year it was one of Hawaii's
largest attractions operators.
In the first quarter of 2002 Ronald Williams became
president and CEO of Atlantis Adventures.
He had served as the company's chief operating
officer since 1996.
In 2004 Atlantis adventures celebrated their
15 year anniversary of operating in Hawaii.
-On December 14, 2005 Atlantis Submarines of Maui sank
the 97 foot Carthaginian II vessel off the coast of
Lahaina on the island of Maui. The steel hull vessel
was originally a freight ship but in 1973 it was
converted into a Maui tourist attraction and museum
by rigging it up to look like a 19th century whaling vessel.
Ship to Be Sunk as Sub-Sea Attraction
Lahaina Icon Sinks Into Deep Sleep
-Also that year, on November 16, 2005
at 2:00 p.m. one of the Atlantis submarines hit the bottom
floor of the ocean when it experienced a
minor malfunction. There were 41 passengers
and three crew members on board the 100 foot
submarine at the time but none of them were
injured. The sub was in 70 feet of water
when the hull touched down on the ocean floor.
Most of the passengers were not even aware
that it happened and there was no damage
to the submarine. Passengers were given the option
of either getting a refund or taking the
tour again at another time.
By 2007 Atlantis International was employing
about 450 people and operating 11 submarines
in 11 locations in Hawaii, Guam, and the Caribbean.
Atlantis Submarines celebrated the 20 year anniversary
of their first submarine dive in Hawaii from September 5, 2008
through December 31, 2008.
As of 2008 Dennis Hurd was president of
Atlantis Submarines International although I'm
not sure when he moved into that position.
By 2008 the Atlantis International had taken more then
11 million passengers on submarine tours
on one of their 48-passenger or 64-passenger
submarines in Hawaii, the Caribbean, and Guam.
In November of 2008 the Honolulu Advertiser
reported that the Vancouver based Atlantis Submarines
revenues dropped significantly between 2007 and 2008.
Atlantis Sub Revenue Dropped in 2008
For more information about the history
of Atlantis International see
Atlantis Adventures: Our Story
More About Atlantis Adventures of Hawaii
Introduction to the Atlantis Submarine Cruises
Atlantis Dinner Cruises
Hawaii Activities - Main Menu
Islands of Hawaii
Hawaii for Visitors